Handicapping the Race for Packers’ Job Openings
The Green Bay Packers have more job openings for crucial positions now than they’ve had in years. Let’s take a look at them and I’ll give you my pick for each position.
If I had my choice, this position would be filled by either Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie or Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider. Yes, both of those guys — both of whom have strong ties to Green Bay — are under contract with their current teams. They likely can’t interview with another team to make a lateral move, but there are some things that are still unclear. The Raiders are hiring Jon Gruden as coach. They are giving him just about whatever he wants to take that job. Does he want personnel control? If he does, then McKenzie’s role will be reduced. The Packers give their GM full personnel control, so in that case, McKenzie would be taking a better job with more responsibility and the Raiders couldn’t stop him. Schneider already shares personnel control with coach Pete Carroll in Seattle, so I don’t see how the Seahawks could stop him from coming to Green Bay, unless it’s written into his contract.
Additionally, the Packers could also compensate either team in the form of a draft pick for plucking their employee. Of course, I don’t ever see that happening.
The bottom line here is, I expect the Packers’ new GM to come from within. If I had my choice there, it would be director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst. You put a guy with a scouting background in the general manager position.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen. Everything points to director of player finance Russ Ball becoming the new GM. The Packers have made it a point to note how Ball has been sitting in on film sessions for the past several years. Who cares? Why would they do that?
Only if they wanted to ease Ball’s transition into the GM role and try to limit negative reaction from fans. Plus, coach Mike McCarthy has talked about how he needs to be a fit with the new GM. McCarthy has known Ball since 1993. And finally, team president Mark Murphy is a money guy and so is Ball. Plus, they’re close. Every arrow points to Russ Ball and I would be surprised if he doesn’t get the job.
GM: Russ Ball
It was a surprise to me when the Packers let Edgar Bennett go. The candidate list to replace him appears to be some guys we all know — former OC Joe Philbin, former quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo and current offensive line coach James Campen.
I can’t say I dislike any of those options. All three were on staff the last time the Packers won the Super Bowl.
To me, this one is easy. Joe Philbin was the Packers’ offensive coordinator in 2010. He knows Aaron Rodgers, he knows Mike McCarthy and he knows the job.
OC: Joe Philbin
I don’t cheer for people to lose their jobs, but the dismissal of Dom Capers — Teflon Dom — was long overdue. The Packers will interview three internal candidates for the job — cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt, safeties coach Darren Perry and linebackers coach Winston Moss.
The way we hear it, Moss is probably a token interview and McCarthy doesn’t want him back on staff either way. Perry played for Capers and came up under him as a coach. He isn’t the choice to replace Capers, although I would expect him to remain on staff, unless he leaves voluntarily.
Among the internal candidates Whitt is the best bet. Not only have former players like Charles Woodson endorsed him, but Whitt is notoriously hard on his guys. Capers wasn’t hard on anyone. It has been detailed how the defensive players weren’t held accountable (which reflects poorly on Perry, as well). Whitt will hold guys accountable. And here’s something else to note — Whitt was on staff a year before Capers. He’s not going to run the same-old system.
While I am warming on the candidacy of Joe Whitt more every day, I don’t think he’ll be the guy. I think the guy is coming from outside the organization, as McCarthy alluded to on Thursday.
I am betting on former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. In three years, he transformed the Bears’ defense into a top-10 unit. And if McCarthy wants some outside influence, as he says, then this is the obvious spot.
DC: Vic Fangio
Let’s get the band back together!
Okay, there may be an internal candidate here. That would appear to be offensive perimeter coach David Raih. He worked with the quarterbacks in 2017, but it was his first year on the job. He previously served as assistant offensive line coach.
Clearly, Aaron Rodgers will have to sign off on this move. But there’s an obvious answer. Yes, let’s get the band back together. The answer is Ben McAdoo.
QB Coach: Ben McAdoo
Luke Getsy left to become the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State. This was before the shakeup, so good for him.
This one is pretty simple, as well. If there’s another candidate, we haven’t heard of him. The Packers are negotiating to bring Edgar Bennett back.
This is his spot. And where is he going to go?
Bennett served as the Packers’ receivers coach from 2011-14, prior to being promoted to offensive coordinator. He did that job well.
Let’s get him back at it.
Receivers Coach: Edgar Bennett
Defensive Line Coach
This one is easy. Assistant defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is getting promoted.
The players like him, the staff likes him. It’s a no-brainer.
DL Coach: Jerry Montgomery
While this isn’t an opening yet, I strongly suspect Winston Moss is out. We’ve talked about that, even though he’s getting an interview for the defensive coordinator job.
Who would replace him? I have no idea. I suspect that will be left up to the new defensive coordinator. And the assistant spot, which Scott McCurley was fired from, will also be up to the new guy.
That said, I’m going to take a flier here.
Kevin Greene is currently the outside linebackers coach for the New York Jets. He previously held the same position with the Packers. Greene brought the same fire he played with to the Packers as a coach. He got the best out of Clay Matthews. Since this would be a promotion, Greene should be free to take the job if it were offered.
The Packers need some fire on defense.
And even though he’s a Capers guy — Capers presented him for the Hall of Fame — I would suspect Greene would love to come back to Green Bay.
LB Coach: Kevin Greene